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review 2019-01-20 06:33
Between A Scylla and A Charybdis

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I listened to this on audiobook, and it was a lot of fun. The narrator really got into the story and was quite good at the voices. While this is geared to the tween audience, it's plenty enjoyable to older readers, especially those who are really into Greek mythology.

Riordan has found a novel way to reinterpret the Greek myths, adding something and some new ideas that make these ancient legends feel fresh. This was made into a movie, and some aspects follow the book, but there are whole plotlines that didn't make it into the movie.

I especially liked how Percy's brother, Tyson, is introduced, and the evolution of the relationship between Percy and Tyson. Initially, Percy viewed Tyson as a nuisance, but he comes to love and value his half-cyclops brother.

There's plenty of action and magic and stuff that makes these books tons of fun. I recommend getting the audiobook for this if you can.



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review 2019-01-20 00:06
Queen of Legend

Queen of ZazzauQueen of Zazzau by J.S. Emuakpor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Not your typical historical fiction. I liked that it was about an African queen of legend, and there's plenty of mythology and folklore and magic intertwined. Some aspects of the story I didn't care for, but it was certainly a well-written, involving story.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine. http://affairedecoeur.com.



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review 2019-01-16 13:56
Empire of Sand
Empire of Sand - Tasha Suri

by Tasha Suri

 

This is a well told story with magic and mythology, as well as an exotic feel to it. Mehr is half Amrithi, as is her little sister, and they can see and smell Daivas; supernatural creatures invisible to ordinary humans. They are considered superstition and Mehr's step-mother is intolerant of Mehr's attempts to teach her younger sister how to deal with them.

 

An unexpected turn of events effectively forces Mehr into an unwanted marriage to a stranger and her independent nature is put up against the challenge of becoming a tool for political power, using her previously forbidden Amrithi abilities in ways that she recognises as wrong. Though she predictably falls in love with her husband, who is also Amrithi, both are enslaved by magical means and together they must find a way to resist the cruel machinations of the Maha, to whom they are in forced vows.

 

The one thing that bothers me about this story is that Mehr goes from one miserable situation to another. Even when something good happens, circumstances around it will create yet more misery. The poor girl never seems to get a real break!

 

It had a satisfying end though, and I felt I got a complete story which is important to me in the age of series books. The sample of the next book suggests that it will be the sister's story, so yay!

 

I liked the way that Indian mythology was worked into the plot. The characters were distinctive and I liked several of them, if not always completely. I'd say this is an author to watch, though perhaps her characters should be watching their backs!

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review 2019-01-15 15:38
This is the end, my friends...
Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave - Darynda Jones

Book source ~ NetGalley (for tour in 2018)

 

Charley Davidson broke the only rule she was supposed to follow and God (yes, Him) flicked her like a bug into a Hell dimension as punishment. Ok, maybe he didn’t actually flick her. He may have whisked her. Or scooted? Anyway, after 100+ years of exile she’s back and she’s not sure what she’s missed more: Reyes, her daughter, her friends or coffee. But just because she’s been gone doesn’t mean shit hasn’t hit the fan and now she has to roll up her sleeves, assuming she has sleeves, and get to work.

 

I finished this epic final installment of an even bigger epic series and all I could hear is the Doors playing The End. That was a stupid ringtone I picked for my phone, but anyway, I’m sad to say it is The End for Charley’s adventures. However, I left the last page behind with hope in my heart that there will, at some point, be a book/trilogy/series featuring the ever adorable Beep and her army facing off with Lucifer.

 

I laughed, I cried, I snorted, I drooled, so it was a typical Charley book in that respect. But I was also floored by a certain revelation. Woo doggie! I totally did not see that coming. And that thing, at the end? I never would have thought of that! So, goodbye for now, my friends. I hope to see you again soon in another dimension. Or installment. Or whatever. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m totally going to re-read this entire series and soon, so get some cookies and put on the tea!

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review 2019-01-07 18:17
Review: Sea Witch
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of last year. The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairy tales (and my favourite Disney movie). So a sea witch origin story? Hell yes! I pre ordered as well and was so excited when my review request was approved.

 

Only…I can’t say I was overtly impressed. It was almost 70% of the book before anything resembling The Little Mermaid cropped up into the story and the first half was slow and kind of boring.  The setting was beautiful – inspired by the original tale not the Disneyfied version, the Danish kingdom by the sea sounds absolutely beautiful.

 

The heroine, Evie, is interesting as she is not the most likeable of characters. She’s kind of blunt at times, an outcast. Her mother is out of the picture (can’t remember why) and her father is away a lot working on the fishing boats. Evie lives with the local witch, and is learning her magic. And sneaking glances at magic she’s not supposed to know.

 

Already looked down upon because of where she stays, she also feels the stigma of the death of her childhood best friend Anna. They were both playing in the sea, something happened, Evie survived, Anna did not.  Evie also has developed a close friendship with the Crown Prince and his handsome cousin, all are about the same age. Many of the nobles don’t like this, another reason Evie is frowned up on.

 

Yet despite this she keeps a strong outlook and doesn’t let people’s disdain of her stop her from being friends with the Prince and hanging out with him and his cousin whenever she can. She’s also not opposed to using magic she’s not supposed to.

 

The first half of the book focuses on how Evie deals with day to day life, her friendship with the two princes, the upcoming festival. The hints of her darker nature just showing through. It is beautifully written, but it is very very slow. And despite showing hints of a strong character, Evie spends a fair bit of time mooning over the Prince’s cousin who she may or may not have feelings for. The dude is a known player yet seems to give her special treatment more than any other girls he’s supposedly courted.

 

When a strange new girl arrives in town looking almost identical to Anna, Evie’s world is thrown. She’s convinced the girl IS Anna, but the girl is firm she is not. She and the girl develop a close friendship and Evie learns the girl’s secret – she is in fact, a mermaid and needs to find her true love in order to stay on land and keep her legs. This new girl also develops a close friendship with Evie’s prince and his cousin. The cousin is convinced there’s something not right about this girl.

 

The girl has some unusual magic of her own, Evie is determined to help the girl, she failed one friend she won’t fail another. But things start unravelling as the girl’s history and secrets are slowly revealed and truths are learned. Things take a drastic turn and change for Evie in ways she never imagined.

 

The latter half of the book was much more fast paced, but as I said earlier it’s almost 70% before the pace finally picks up and things start happening – fast. It almost seems rushed. The characters of Evie and the mysterious new girl were quite well fleshed out, but the two princes just felt like generic YA love interest characters. One nice and friendly with good honourable intentions, the other a charmer with a not so good reputation. It’s been done a hundred times.

 

There was enough of an interesting narrative to want to know what was going on – but it was still a little bit disappointing.

 

It appears there is a sequel, I can’t honestly say I am that interested in continuing this story, though I would definitely read something else written by this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Children’s books for approving my request to view the title.

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